Jewell warns Town fans not to expect a quick fix
IPSWICH Town manager Paul Jewell today warned Blues fans not to expect a quick fix.
With a home Championship game against Preston North End on Saturday and a visit to Leicester City seven days later bringing down the curtain on yet another run of the mill campaign, Town fans are thirsting for Jewell to bring the good times back to Portman Road next season.
But the man who has taken both Bradford City and Wigan Athletic into the Premier Division knows the score, and he is certainly not making any hasty predictions.
Heavy defeats by Norwich City and Swansea City made it a depressing Easter for Blues supporters, and Jewell will not lighten their mood with his thoughts on the future.
“The one reason I was attracted to the job and why I came here was that there is no pressure to gain promotion next season,” said Jewell, who has a contract to June 2013.
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“Of course we want to get promotion and nobody is ruling this out for 2011/12.
“But there will be no quick fix.
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“Despite the two recent heavy defeats more progress has been made than I expected when I arrived and saw the performance at Millwall when we looked serious relegation candidates and in danger of slipping into the bottom three.
“We are improving and moving in the right direction towards our long term objective.”
Jewell, who gets on well with club owner Marcus Evans and has enjoyed working with his current crop of players, has been impressed by the support the club gets, and this has heightened his desire to give fans top flight football.
“But there will be about 14 clubs with realistic aims to do well in the Championship next season,” he added.
“We need to built a winning mentality that I had at Bradford and Wigan with the three promoted clubs from League One last season all benefitting from this and doing well in the Championship this term.
“But this takes time.”
The last two matches may well have loosened Town’s grip on keeping rising star Connor Wickham at the club.
Jewell is already committed to bringing two free-scoring strikers to Portman Road in the summer, and the gulf between his side and Norwich and Swansea will have made him realise that he needs more strengthening to get up to their standard.
Top strikers and proven Championship players don’t come cheap and this will have to be financed. With Evans unlikely to provide the �10million or so that might be required any Liverpool bid over �8million for Wickham, 18, will have to be seriously considered.
Town are reported to be set to make a �2million bid for Peterborough’s Craig Mackail-Smith, but it may need a higher offer to prise the free-scoring front man away from London Road if the Posh are promoted from League One.
There is not good news on the injury front for Town fans ahead of the Preston visit with Wickham (rib), Jimmy Bullard (fluid on knee and should knock), Gareth McAuley (groin strain) and Darren O’Dea (ankle) all doubtful.